Provides identity


Identity principle






Allowed supertypes

Category, Mixin

Allowed subtypes

Subkind, Phase, Role

Forbidden associations

ComponentOf, Derivation, Structuration, SubQuantityOf




The «Collective» construct is used to represent rigid concepts that provide an identity principle for their instances. The main characteristic of a «Collective» is that it has an homogenous internal structure, i.e., all parts are perceived in the same way by the whole (see the «MemberOf» relation for more details about members of collections).

Collective examples

To decide whether or not to classify a concept as a collective, think about the relation between it has towards its parts (or members). Do all members are “equally perceived” by the whole (the collective)? In other words, do all members contribute in the same way to the functionality of the whole? If the answers are yes, you have a collective. It is important to keep in mind that some concepts, like Family or Fleet could be classified as both collectives and functional complexes. For instance, if we understand a family as a group of people with equal roles and responsibilities towards the family, we would say it is a collective. However, if we distinguish a person as the head of the family, and another as being responsible for the family’s income, we would say that a family is a functional complex.


As the other identity provider stereotypes («Kind», «Quality», «Relator» and «Mode»), a «Collective» can be specialized by subkinds, phases and roles, as well as generalized by mixins and categories.

Relator application 1


C1: A «Collective» cannot have an identity provider («Kind», «Collective», «Quantity», «Relator», «Mode» and «Quantity») as its direct or indirect super-type.

Collective forbidden 1

C2: A «Collective» cannot have types that inherit identitySubkind», «Role» and «Phase») as its direct or indirect super-types.

Collective forbidden 2

C3: A «Collective» cannot have types that aggregate individuals with different identity principlesCategory», «RoleMixin» and «Mixin») as its direct or indirect subtypes.

Collective forbidden 3

C4: As a rigid type, a «Collective» cannot have any anti-rigid type («Role», «RoleMixin» and «Phase») as its direct or indirect super-type.

Collective forbidden 4

Common questions

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EX1: Fragment from the a conceptual model about the human genome (see more):

Example Human Genome

EX2: Fragment from the Normative Acts Ontology (see more):

Example NOA